"So," Michelle said, flicking her cigarette butt out the window, "there's the edict."
Jill was never really sure if Michelle wanted her to interject or if she just wanted her to listen, because whenever she agreed, Michelle invariably contradicted her and said Jill didn't really understand the complex predicament she was discussing ("But I kind of led him on," she would say whenever Jill would say Michelle was right, the guy she was talking about sure was a jerk, "But you have to see it from his point of view," "But I was being kind of a bitch, too," "But you've never really been in that situation, Jill, no offense"). Disagreeing with Michelle was even worse; she'd lash out furiously, apologize later, then hold a grudge for days. And if Jill remained silent, Michelle would say, "Well, what do you think? Why aren't you saying anything?" Therefore, Jill was more than a little relieved when the telephone's ring filled the silence. Michelle leapt up, saying, "I'll get rid of whoever it is; I want to finish this conversation." But an hour later, she was still talking to Millard, saying, "I'll think about it; that's all I can promise. I made a vow to the show, but I made a vow to myself, too." And as that phone conversation droned on into the early morning, Jill Wasserstrom lay wide awake in bed, trying to think about anything aside from her mother, the end of the world, and the Adon Olam.
From Crossing California by Adam Langer. Copyright Adam Langer 2004. All rights reserved.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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